Vol. 5 Num 263 Tue. February 22, 2005  

Making ODIs Exciting
Whatmore for an active 12th man

The man who presided over a remarkable redefinition of the way one-day cricket is played says the game doesn't need rule changes to make it more exciting.

Dav Whatmore, Sri Lanka's coach when Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana revolutionised how teams used the first 15 overs, on Sunday suggested that captains must be more inventive in their approach rather than follow tried and tested methods.

After a somewhat lacklustre domestic summer when Australia dominated Test series against New Zealand and Pakistan, and won the tri-series without playing at their best, Australia's coach John Buchanan said the 50-over game format had become "tired".

However, Whatmore, who is starting to have success as coach of Bangladesh, could think of only one minor change to the rules that would spice up what he believes is a solid and successful format.

He said a 12th man should be allowed to be interchanged for another player and play an active part in the game as a batsman and bowler.

"If there was one change I'd make, it's that you could take to the field with 11, but your 12th man could be a replacement and come on to bat and bowl," Whatmore said.

"But, really, making big rule changes is not the answer. It just so happens that the tri-series you had over there was drab because players didn't perform well."

Whatmore challenged captains to be more proactive in the field, not always reverting to a long-on and long-off as soon as the 15-over field restrictions were lifted.

"I was watching a game this week, which was a perfect example of that," Whatmore said. "(England spinner) Ashley Giles was bowling, a new batsman at the crease and both mid-on and mid-off were back and there were just four in the ring . . . it was crazy.

You've got to think on your feet and be flexible."

Former Australia coach Bob Simpson recently said unimaginative tactics, such as a reluctance to use strike bowlers in the middle of the innings, were contributing to one-day cricket's malaise.